US backs sanctions against Iran`s central bank

The US said it backs appropriately timed sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran to curb Tehran`s nuclear ambitions.

Last Updated: Dec 02, 2011, 11:01 AM IST

Washington: The United States said on Friday it
backs "appropriately timed" sanctions against the Central Bank
of Iran (CBI) to curb Tehran`s nuclear ambitions.

"The Obama administration strongly supports increasing
the pressure on Iran," the US under secretary of state for
political affairs, Wendy Sherman, told the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee.

"And that includes properly designed and well targeted
sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran, appropriately
timed as part of a carefully phased and sustainable policy
toward bringing about Iranian compliance of its obligations."

Sherman and other US officials said there is a way to
target the CBI but it should occur in a multilateral context.
The Treasury Department`s David Cohen told the committee
that the administration backed France which last month called
on its international partners to impose a freeze of Iran`s
central bank assets and an oil embargo.

"It is more important than ever that we work together with
the international community to increase the financial pressure
on Iran, including through an effective, well-designed,
well-targeted strategy to further isolate the Central Bank of
Iran," Cohen said.

"We welcome French President (Nicolas) Sarkozy`s call last
week for a multilateral assets freeze on the CBI," he said.
"We recognise that coordinated and focussed action against
the CBI could have a particularly powerful impact on Iran`s
access to the international financial system and its ability
to access the hard currency it earns from oil sales," he said.

We "welcome the opportunity to continue to work with
Congress" on such sanctions, he said.

"The key to achieving this goal is to bring together a
coalition to work in concert to reduce exposure to the CBI and
to Iranian oil exports," he said.

"Now more than ever, it is imperative that we act in a
way that does not threaten to fracture the international
coalition of nations committed to the dual track approach," he
said.

He added that it is important that any action taken must
"not inadvertently redound to Iran`s economic benefit, and
brings serious and lasting pressure to bear on Iran."

The dual-track approach is one where the international
community offers to diplomatic engagement if Iran agrees to
cooperate on curbing its nuclear programme or imposes
sanctions if it continues its defiance.

PTI